3 best Windows software to read Mac formatted drive on PC

Ivan Jenic
by Ivan Jenic
Troubleshooting Expert
1 Comments
Download PDF
Affiliate Disclosure

  • We all know that Windows and Mac cater to different audiences, but sometimes you might find yourself in need of reading a Mac-formatted drive on a PC.
  • Check out the best programs that allow you to read HFS+ drives on your Windows PC without formatting them.
  • Go on and eliminate boundaries completely. Here's how to Install Windows 10 on a MAC!
  • Visit our Software Hub as well and explore more creative tools that will undoubtedly enhance your digital life.
read Mac-formatted drives Windows

It’s obvious that Windows PCs and Mac computers are quite different. But besides their many major differences, there are also smaller distinctions that separate Microsoft’s and Apple’s operating systems.

For example, Windows and Mac computers use different file systems for reading hard disks and removable drives. As you may have heard, Windows uses the NTFS file system while Mac uses HFS+.

Alternatively, most hard drives and USB flash drives are formatted with the FAT32 file system, recognized by both PCs and Macs.

That way, wider compatibility means more customers. However, some people might need to load an HFS+ drive but don’t have a Mac nearby.

Don’t format the drive by yourself!

As soon as you connect a Mac-formatted drive to a PC, you’ll be asked to format a drive. The following message will appear: You need to format the disk in drive X: before you can use it.

If you choose to format, it will erase everything from the drive and you’ll end up with an empty space.

This is fine if you just want a free drive to use, but if you have some data to access, click Cancel and use one of the following programs to make the hard drive readable.

In that case, we should look for help from a third-party solution. There are a few useful programs that allow us to read HFS+ drives on our Windows PCs without formatting them.

Check out our top picks below.

How to read a Mac-formatted drive on a Windows PC?

Ad

Paragon HFS+ (Recommended)

Paragon HFS+ is a premium solution that does come with a price tag. With that price, though, comes a handful of useful features that offer you everything you need for managing HFS+ drives on Windows computers.

You can use it for moving files and folders between the two devices.

Paragon HFS+ also offers full integration with the File Explorer, so you can open the HFS+ drive from basically anywhere.


Does file Explorer crash after right-clicking? Solve it quickly with these easy steps!


The developer promises a satisfying performance, which is another plus for this program.

Paragon HFS+ is available for the price of $49.95, but you can also use the free trial for 10 days. So, if you need to perform this action only once, you can take advantage of the free trial, and get the job done free of charge.

On the other hand, if you frequently need to manage HFS+ drives on your computer, paying this fee is still a pretty good deal.

Paragon HFS+

Paragon HFS+

Effortlessly read and write files from macOS formatted HDD, SSD, or flash drives with HFS+ for Windows by Paragon Software.
Free trial Visit website

HFS Explorer

HFS Explorer is probably the program you’re going to use for this action, especially if you need to read a Mac-formatted drive one time.

The reason for using HFS Explorer is because, first and foremost, it’s free unlike other programs from this list. Additionally, it’s quite simple to use and doesn’t require much effort.

To access data from an HFS+ drive with HFS Explorer, connect the drive, open the program, and go to File > Load File System From Device.

HFS Explorer will automatically recognize the drive and show its content. From here, you can manage and export files and folders from the drive to your computer.

Keep in mind that HFS Explorer is a read-only program, so you can’t copy files from your computer to the hard drive.

If you want to have full control over your HFS+ hard drive in Windows, you’ll have to try some of the paid solutions listed in this guide.

Additionally, to be able to use HFS Explorer, you need the Java runtime environment installed on your computer.

Download HFS Explorer here

Mediafour MacDrive

MacDrive is a solution for more advanced users who really need to get the most of their HFS+ drives.

It offers complete integration with the File Explorer, which makes HFS+ drives extremely easy to use on Windows computers. Of course, the program is read/write-ready, as well.

Perhaps the biggest standout of this program is the ability to repair disks and manage partitions. With all these options, Mediafour’s MacDrive allows users complete control over HFS+ drives on Windows.

All these features come with a price of $50 ($49.99 to be more exact). However, just as in the case of Paragon‘s program, you can also take advantage of the free trial. With MacDrive, it only lasts for 5 days.

Download Mediafour MacDrive here

Alternative solution: Use iCloud

Additionally, you can open .page files on Windows 10 by using iCloud. In order to do this, all you need is your AppleID and a browser.

Here’s how:

  1. Launch your browser and go to iCloud.com.
  2. Use your Apple ID to sign in. Now, go to Pages > Settings > Upload Document.
  3. Select the pages that you want to upload and edit.
  4. You can then click on Tools and select Download a Copy to get a copy of the respective files on your Windows 10 PC.
  5. Select Word to export the documents in Word format on your PC.

And this is how you can read Mac-formatted documents on your computer without downloading any software solution.


There you go, we hope you’ll find these solutions satisfactory.

If you have any comments, questions, or suggestions, just let us know in the comments section below.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in March 2019 and has been since revamped and updated in September 2020 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

Editor's Note: This article was originally published in February 2017 and was revamped and updated in October 2020 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.